Stephanie Dickson

It’s about 200 miles from Maine Road Football Club to Wembley Stadium. Driving, it’ll take you about three-and-a-half hours. In FA Cup terms, it takes a bit longer.

Maine Road’s defeat at home to Handsworth Parramore on Saturday 11th August 2018 was the very first game covered by a member of the FA Young Reporters’ Club.

Manchester City, the footballing giant whose supporters formed Maine Road FC in the 1950s, won the FA Cup on Saturday in a game also covered by the Young Reporters Club. It meant the FA YRC had been represented at every single round of the competition from the Extra Preliminary Round to the Final. English football’s grassroots to its glittering, end-of-season showpiece. Maine Road to Man City.

The FA Young Reporters’ Club was created around this time last year when the FA’s editorial team met with Seven League to discuss content for TheFA.com for the season ahead. Together we had an idea which would be about much more than content: it would change the future careers of future sports journalists all over the country.

In the 10 months between August and May, the project has:

– Given 30 aspiring journalists from around the country the chance to experience match reports and interviews

– And to get their names on one of the most important websites in world football, receive feedback from experienced journalists and advice from The Times chief football writer Henry Winter

– Produced 70 articles for TheFA.com across six FA competitions – Women’s Superleague, FA Women’s Championship, FA Trophy, FA Youth Cup, SSE Women’s FA Cup and Emirates FA Cup – as well as features and interviews

The project has brought the heart and soul of English football’s grassroots to TheFA.com – for example when Kimberley Miners Welfare played Oadby Town in the Preliminary Round and hoped for the victory which would bring £2890 in prize money and a new lawnmower for the pitch (they lost, however, 2-0).

One of the most special moments in the season came at St George’s Park when we took a group of the Young Reporters to an England men’s senior team training session. They were given a talk by Henry Winter and also got the chance to interview men’s under-19 captain Jonathan Panzo.

Henry tweeted that the project was “brilliant” and that the Young Reporters’ Club had a “lot of talent.”

It was a wonderful season for the FA Young Reporters’ ClubFor more information please head to thefa.com/youngreportersclub.

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